Muhammad Ali Center launches national search for new CEO

LOUISVILLE, KY, Feb. 22, 2024 – The Muhammad Ali Center, a cultural cornerstone for Louisville and the nation, officially began its search for a new CEO Thursday, as outgoing president and CEO Marilyn Jackson advances to join the American Alliance of Museums as their next president and CEO.

“I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving as the president and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. Ali, a global icon, dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice, inspiring positive change worldwide. It has been an immense honor to be a part of this legacy,” Jackson said. “Louisville is fortunate to have the Center, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who supported us since the Center’s founding in 2005. I have full confidence and trust this great institution will continue the progress we’ve made together.”

Over her two years at the Center, Jackson focused on creating and implementing a strategic plan, with influence from community leaders. This roadmap for the Center’s success supported the creation of new educational programs, expanded partnerships at the local and global levels, and attracted new corporate partners and philanthropists who have provided resources to improve the physical space. Now, more than 100,000 visitors connect with the mission of the Center each year, advancing the legacy of Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie Ali.

“Marilyn was instrumental in creating a new path forward for the center, reenergizing our initial mission: to promote positive social change through education, community, and Muhammad’s legacy,” Lonnie Ali said. “As we begin our search for a new CEO, I am confident our transition team will find the best leaders our communities have to offer.”

The Center’s transition team is chaired by Nicole Yates with members including Lonnie Ali, Greg Fischer, Ingrid Gentry, Bennie Ivory, and Stephen Reily. This team will identify potential applicants over the coming weeks. Those who are interested in the position can learn more and apply here.

“Marilyn Jackson brought a wide range of skills to the Ali Center, and her success in Louisville was noticed by the nation. She is now assuming one of the most important museum jobs in the country, supporting the 35,000 museums and museum professionals who are members of the American Alliance of Museums,” said Stephen Reily, a former member of the Ali Center Board of Trustees, former director of the Speed Art Museum, and founding director of the Remuseum Project.

Jackson will soon begin her role as president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, after an extensive nationwide search. “It’s been an honor to chair the search committee for AAM’s next leader,” said Dr. Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. “In Marilyn, we found a visionary and transformative leader that will help drive AAM to new and different heights; that much has been proven by her lasting impact at the Muhammad Ali Center.”

Jackson will remain in her current position at the Center for several weeks, supporting the transition team in their search for the next leader for one of Louisville’s greatest cultural institutions.


The Muhammad Ali Center is a 501(c)3 corporation, cofounded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the Six Core Principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, racial and gender equity, and global citizenship. The Ali Center is formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, and in 2020, became one of the newest stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit

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